Heritage Tourism is an important part of Washtenaw County's economic vitality. Heritage Tourism supports local businesses, links tourists and local residents to local foods, and promotes the retention of property values. Washtenaw County Heritage Tourism offers five distinct themed driving routes to guide visitors and locals through the County's cities, villages, and rural areas, and a virtual heritage tour of the Willow Run Bomber Plant. These tours celebrate the region’s rich heritage and highlight a variety of historic and cultural resources. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a well-managed tourism improves the local economy and its quality of life, and also builds community pride.
As concluded by a 2010 national research study (The Historic/Cultural Traveler by the U.S. Travel Association and Smithsonian Magazine) 78% (118 million) of U.S. adults who traveled in 2009 were considered cultural heritage travelers. Visitors to historic sites and cultural attractions stay longer and spend more money at locally owned businesses, hotels, and restaurants than other kinds of tourists. In 2009, cultural and heritage visitors spent, on average, $994 per trip compared to $611 for all U.S travelers excluding the cost of transportation - 62% more per trip than the average traveler. For more information on the economic benefits of Heritage Tourism, visit The National Trust for Historic Preservation website.
Heritage Foodways Story Map
Foodways is a cultural heritage tour viewed through the lens of local food. This new heritage product highlights the local food traditions of Washtenaw County from a culinary history lens. It includes highlights in local ethnic history over time, featuring the foods and stories of the many different peoples of Washtenaw County. Based in primary and secondary source research, recipes are presented with the goal of preparation with foods grown and purchased in Washtenaw County.
Each recipe is nestled within a backstory rooted in a variety of historic eras and groups, ranging from First Peoples/Native American and early European settlers to the Abolitionist Movement, the home-front life during World War II, and recent social changes that marked the 20th century.
Washtenaw County, MI Historic Barns Tour Story Map
Follow the Historic Barns Tour through Bridgewater, Manchester, and Sharon townships to see examples of nineteenth and twentieth century structures associated with one of the region's strongest industries: agriculture. Download the 2007 Historic Barn Tour (PDF).
Greek Revival Architecture Tour Story Map
Those interested in Greek Revival Architecture can choose from several routes to view the style as expressed through a range of building materials (from fired and adobe brick to wood siding to cobblestone) and a variety of forms typical from the early settlement through the post-Civil War periods. Download the 2007 Greek Revival Tour (PDF).
Esek Pray Trail Tour Story Map
The Esek Pray Trail travels through Superior Township and features a variety of exceptional nineteenth century residences, one-room schoolhouses, and other resources tied to the family of Esek Pray, a founding leader of the State of Michigan, and his contemporaries. Download the 2007 Esek Pray Trail Tour (PDF).
German Agricultural Heritage Tour Story Map
On the German Heritage Tour, tourists venture onto the back roads of Freedom, Lodi, and Scio townships to witness a landscape dotted with traditional farmsteads associated with the State's largest and first German settlement. Download the 2007 German Agricultural Tour (PDF).
Willow Run: Arsenal of Democracy Story Map
This web based story map tour integrates images of the Willow Run Bomber Plant, B-24 Bombers and Rosie the Riveter, and goes beyond popular history to give a glimpse of everyday life for those who participated in the war effort in the Ypsilanti region.
Ann Arbor Modern Tour
Sample the extensive residential work undertaken by architecture professors at the University of Michigan for their colleagues and other professionals in the Ann Arbor Hills neighborhood between 1950 and 1970. This period of building resulted in a remarkable collection of fine architect-designed homes in the Modern style.This was the first in a series of Mid Century Modern tours throughout Michigan. More information is available on the Michigan Modern website and the a2 Modern website.